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tv   Thank you for Being Late  CSPAN  December 17, 2016 3:15pm-4:31pm EST

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black america in between the world and me. more picks include dreamland, olivia lang recalls the solitary lives of prominent artists in "the lonely city," and historian timothy garden ash explains how the first amendment affects the 21st century in "free speech." that's some of the staff picks from powell's bookstore in portland, oregon. many of these authors will be appearing on booktv. you can watch them on our web site, booktv.org. [inaudible conversations] >> okay, good evening. i'm bradley graham, co-owner of politics & prose along with my life, lissa muscatine. and on behalf of everybody at p and p and the staff here at sixth and i, welcome.
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you know, we at p and p have been doing these jointly-sponsored author talks for a number of years. as much as we would have liked to have had you in our store on connecticut avenue, you just all would to not have fit. so we are really very excited to be able to use this spacious and very beautiful and comfortable setting for author to talks like the one this evening. and what a treat to have tom friedman with us. anyone far with tom's columns in "the new york times" and his previous books knows how great an explainer of, well, just about everything he is. few people can cut through the complexities of something and write about them as clearly as tom can. he says at the start of his new book that he went into journalism in part because he loves translating from english to english.
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[laughter] and that's been very evident in his work. what he focuses on in his new book, "thank you for being late," are several forces that he singles out as defining the world nowadays and affecting our lives at dizzying paces; the forces of climate change, technology and and globalization. he discusses how the accelerating changes engendered by these forces are reshaping our lives and how we can cope with them. in thinking this through tom, towards the end of the book, looks at the community in which he grew up, st. louis park, a suburb of minneapolis, for lessons on remaining anchored and connecting with others and trusting and succeeding. tom, obvious, has had a storied career as a journalist dating back to, well, high school in minnesota. that's when his passion for journalism was sparked by a tenth grade teacher and when his interest in the middle east also
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was ignited by a visit with his parents to israel. in college and graduate school, tom focused his studies on the mediterranean and middle east, so it seemed only fitting that soon after becoming journalists he ended up in that part of the world. it was united press international that first sent tom to beirut, and after he moved to "the new york times," it wasn't before they sent him back to beirut and then on to jerusalem. his reporting during those years garnered him two pulitzers for international coverage and led to his first book, "from beirut to jerusalem." relocating to washington, tom was assigned in rather quick succession to three of the paper's top reporting jobs; chief diplomatic correspondent, chief white house correspondent and international economics correspondent. in 1995, that's 21 years ago, he took over the paper's foreign affairs column and has been at
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it ever since, winning a third pulitzer, this one for commentary, in 2002. those who follow tom's columns know they're not just about foreign affairs in the traditional sense of diplomacy and international conflict, they also deal with globalization, the environment, finance, technology and a number of other issues relevant to how the world works today. his six previous books, two have exhibited a wide range of interests as well as the same engaging, conversational writing style that has characterized his columns. tom writes for the general reader, and as we're about to hear, he pitches his talks to the general listener too. so, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming tom friedman. [applause]
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>> thank you very much. thank you. thank you. [laughter] the last time i was here, my daughter was here and my son-in-law was here, and they were getting married. and they're in the front row here, so it's -- [applause] thank you all for coming out. thank for not being late. [laughter] it's -- i'm going to talk about my book, i'm going to talk for about 40 minutes to give you a general overview, and then we've got microphones in the front, and i'm really looking forward to your questions. let me get right to it, the title of the book, "thank you for being late." where does that come from? the title actually comes from meeting people in washington, d.c. for breakfast over the years as a columnist, and every once in a while someone would be 10, 15, 20 minutes late.
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they'd say, tom, i'm really sorry, it was the weather, the traffic, the subway, the dog ate my homework. and one day i just spontaneously said to one of them, peter, my friend peter, i said, actually, peter, thank you for being late. because you were late, i've been eavesdropping on their conversation. fascinating. [laughter] i've been people watching the lobby, fantastic. [laughter] be -- and i just connected two ideas i've been struggling with for a month, so thank you for being late. people started to get into it. they'd say, well, you're welcome. [laughter] because they recognized what i was doing was actually giving them permission to pause, to slow down, to reflect. in fact, my favorite quote in the beginning of the book is from my friend dove seidman who says, you know, when you press
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the pause button on a computer, it stops. but when you press the pause button on a human being, it starts. it starts to reflect, rethink and reimagine. and this book was really my attempt to press the pause button on myself in order to reflect, rethink and reimagine where we are. and the book, indeed, began with a pause where i stopped and engaged someone who i normally wouldn't have. and it ended up through a sequence of events producing this book. so i actually live -- although i work for "the new york times"es, some of you know i live in bethesda, maryland, and about once a week i take the sub to work. so for me, that means driving down bradley boulevard, and i park in the public parking garage beneath the bethesda hyatt. and i did that almost three years ago now when i started this project. i park there, i take the red
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line in to d.c. i come back, get in my car. i've got my time-stamped ticket. i drive to the cashier's booth, i give the ticket to the cashier, he looked at it, looked at me and said, i know who you are. i said, great. he said, i realize your column. -- read your column. i said, great. he said, i don't always agree. i thought, get me out of here. [laughter] i actually said, well, that's good, it means you always have to check, you know? and we both had a laugh, and i drove off. a week later i took my weekly subway ride, red line in to d.c., back, car, time-stamped ticket. cashier's booth, same guy's there. this time he says, mr. friedman, i have my own blog. would you read my blog? [laughter] i thought, oh, my god, the parking guy is now my competitor? [laughter] what just happened?
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so i said, well, write it down for me, and i'll check it out. so he wrote it down -- oh, he took a piece of cashier's tape, and he rode down ode to nambi.com. turned out he was ethiopian. he wrote about east yoap pan politics from a democracy point of view on his own web site, and i started the think about this guy. and wondered who he was and what his story was. and i eventually concluded that this was a sign from god. i should pause and engage him. but i didn't have his e-mail, so the only thing i could do was park in the parking garage every day. [laughter] so i started taking the subway every day. it was four or five days, i don't remember now how many. we overlapped. i parked my car under the gate, i got out, i said -- now i know his name, invited him tonight but, unfortunately, he was ill. i said i want your e-mail.
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and that night i -- he happily gave it to me. i wrote him an e-mail, and i repeat all our e-mails in the front of the book. some of them are funny. and i basically said to him, i have a proposition for you. i am ready to teach you how to write a column. if you tell me your -- if you will tell me your life story. and he basically through a couple of e-mails said i see you're proposing a deal, i like this deal. [laughter] so he asked that we meet near his office at pete's coffeehouse in beda, which we -- bethese -- bethesda, which we did two weeks later. i presented him with a six-piece packet on how to write a column, and he presented me with his life story. largely sat down and reflected. ethiopian immigrant, a democracy
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advocate, actually a political exile. came here, was blogging on ethiopian web sites, but they were too slow. so he decided to start his own blog, and now, mr. friedman, i feel empowered. he knows his google metrics. you have to love a parking guy who knows his google metrics. and he's realize in over 30 countries. this is my parking guy. what an amazing world, that he can get his voice out there that way. so i then presented him with my memo. and we actually went over it three times, three different sessions at pete's coffeehouse. i explained to him that a news story is meant to inform, and it can do so better or worse. i could write a news story about sixth and i. but a column is meant to provoke. i'm either in the heating business or the lighting business.
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that's what i do, okay? i either stoke up an emotion inside of you, or i i rule nate -- ill rule nate something for you, and ideally if i do both, i will produce one of several reactions; i didn't know that, i never looked at it that way, i never connected those things, your favorite, you said exactly what i felt but didn't know how to say. god bless you. i want to kill you and all your offspring, any one of these -- [laughter] reactions will tell you you've produced heat or light. but to produce heat or light, i explained to him, actually requires a chemical reaction. and you have to combine three chemicals. the first is what is your value set. how do you lean into the world? what are the ideas you're -- what is the world view you're trying to promote? are you a communist, a capitalist, a neo-con, a neoliberal, a libber taker a keynesian? what is -- libertarian?
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what is the value set you're trying to promote. second, how do you think the machine works? the machine is my shorthand for what are the biggest forces shaping more things in more places in more wayses on more days. as a columnist, i'm always carrying around a working hypothesis of how the machine works because i'm trying to take my values and push the machine. and if i don't know how the machine works, i either won't push it, or i'll push it in the wrong direction. all of my books have been one take or another on how i think the machine works. lastly, what have you learned about people and culture, how the machine affects people and culture and how people and culture affect the machine. stir those three together, let it rise, bake for 45 minutes, and if you do it right, you'll produce a column that produces heat or light. so the more i explained this to
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him, the more i thought to myself, well p that's what a column is about, what's your value set? where did it come from? how do you think the machine works today? and what have you learned about people and culture? and i decided that was the book i wanted to write x. that's what "thank you for being late" is all about. so i don't have time, obviously, to go through the whole thing, so i'll focus on the core engine of the book, how the machine works today. so i think what is shaping more things in more places, in more ways and more days is that we are in the middle of three accelerations one of them's exponential. they all may be, in fact. the three largest forces on the planet all at the same time. i call them the market, mother nature and moore's law.
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so moore's law, coined by gordon moore over 50 years ago now, the co-founder of intel, says that the speed and power of microchips will double roughly every 24 months. and while it's probably, you know, 30 months now, that is basically -- that has basically held up for over 50 years. if you put moore's law on a graph, it looks like a hockey stick. mother nature for me is climate change, biodiversity loss and population growth. if you put that on a graph, it actually looks like a hockey stick. and lastly, the market for me is globalization. but not your grandfather's globalization. not containers on ships. that's actually declining. digital globalization. twitter, facebook, paypal, all the things that are now being digitized and globalized. put it on a graph, it looks like a hockey stick. we're actually in the middle of three hockey stick accelerations all at the same time with the
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three largest forces on the planet, and they're all interacting with one another. more moore's law drives more globalization. more globalization drives more climate change. also solutions as well. but they're all whirling around each other. and i think that is what's shaping more things in more places in more ways on more days. now, the real flywheel of the whole thing really is moore's law. and that's why the second chapter of the book -- so i'll go through the three accelerations quickly. actually, this is the first one, moore's law. the second chapter of the book is called "what the hell happened in 2007." 2007. sounds like such an innocuous year. 2007. what's this guy talking about? well, here's what happened in 2007. the iphone came out in 2007. january 2007 steve jobs unveiled it in san francisco.
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beginning a process whereby we are putting an internet-enabled, handheld computer into the hands of every person on the planet. but that's not all that happened in 2007. facebook came out of high schools and universities in 2007 -- actually, late 2006. and became available to anyone with an e-mail address. in 2007 a company called twitter, which went -- which was launched a few months before, went global. in 2007 a company -- not a company, a software called -- [inaudible] the most important company in your life that you have never heard of named after the founder's son's toy elephant, created the foundation for big data by creating an open source software platform that made a million computers work like one computer. in 2007 a company called get hub
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also launched itself, the biggest now open source software repository in the world world with roughly 14 million users. got an idea? no problem. just go to the get hub library, pull it off the shelf, use it, fix it, improve it, put it back on the shelf. it is one of the most important companies in the world today. that's not all that happened in we have 2007. in 2007 google came out with something called android. in 2007 google bought a company called youtube. in 2007 a guy named jeff bezos came out with something called the kindle. in 2007 ibm started a cognitive computer called watson. in 2007 three roommates in san francisco thought it'd be a really cool idea to rent out their air mattresses to some guys coming for a design conference, and they started a company called airbnb.
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ever seen a graph of the price of sequencing a human genome? looks like this. straight down. up here $100 million. down here, $1200. the year it goes over the cliff, 2007. 2007 something called fracking started. in 2007, look at a graph of solar energy, takes off in 2007. in 2007 something we call the cloud started. go back to the beginning, looks just like that. look at the first date, 2007. 2007 change.org started. in 2005 michael dell retired. he'd seen it all. in 2007 he decided he had to come back to work. [laughter] in 2007 intel, for the first time, went off silicone to
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extend moore's law and introduce non-silicone metals into its transistors. turns out, friends, that 2007 may be seen in time as the single greatest technological inflection point since ambiguitien burg invented the printing press. and we completely missed it. why? 2008. [laughter] so think about what happened, all right? right when our physical technologies just took off, like we were on a moving sidewalk at an airport that suddenly went from 5 miles an hour to 35 miles an hour? all of what are called our social technologies, the learning systems, the management systems, the regulation and deregulation you needed to get the most out of this acceleration and cushion the worst, they all basically froze. and in that disjunction we have
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been living the last seven, eight years. think about this election in the context of 2007, 2008. let me justty -- digress for one moment. so in the '50s and '60s and '70s, if you were an average worker with an average education, high school or above, you actually could get something called a high-wage, middle-skilled job. i quote a congressman from minnesota, and i'll get to that later, who said in minnesota back in the '60s and '70s you actually needed a plan to fail, okay? if you were an average worker, you needed a plan to fail. because there was so much wind at our backs, so much blue collar work. and even white collar work that you could get with a high school degree. my uncle, who only had a high school degree, worked at a bank in minneapolis in the '60s. then what happened, globalization starts to hit, and technology starts to accelerate.
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'80s, '90s, early 2000s. what do we do for the average worker to help them compete? we actually didn't improve education, we gave them credit cards and home mortgages. and a lot of the middle, the average worker were able to sustain themselves through a huge expansion of credit and by riding up the values of their homes. then 2007 and 2008 happened. what happens in 2007 is, and i'll explain this just in a second, machines and software now start ravenously eating white collar and blue collar jobs at a pace we've never seen before. and people lost their homes because of the 2008 crisis. and that shock, i would argue, produced this election, produced a lot of very dislocated and angry people.
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but i digress. so basically what happened, what produced 2007 was the fact that it wasn't just microchips that were in a moore's law. actually, all five parts of the computer were in a moore's law. microchips was accelerating, software was accelerating. networking was accelerating, storage was accelerating and sensors were accelerating. and in 2007 they all meld into something we call the cloud. the cloud. i never use the term "the cloud" because it sounds so, so soft. [laughter] so cuddly. so fluffy. [laughter] sounds like a joni mitchell song. ♪ i've looked at clouds from both sides now. ♪ [laughter] this ain't no cloud, folks.
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this is a supernova. supernova is the largest force of nature. it's the explosion of a star. only this is an ever-accelerating supernova. and it has, basically, two things came together. i was here on this stage around 2005 to tell the story of a massive collapse in the price of fibroor optic -- fiber optic cable. it happened as a result of the dot.com boom, bubble and bust. we made fiber optic cable so cheap, we accidentally wired the world. and i gave that moment a name. i said the world was flat. because we had so collapsed the price of connectivity, that we could suddenly touch people we had never touched before, and we could be touched by people who could never touch us before. i wrote a book called "the world is flat."
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i wrote the 2.0 edition in 2006, i wrote the 3.0 edition in 2007, and then i stopped. i had it figured out. [laughter] 2007, as my broker says to me, a bad year to stop sniffing glue. be okay? [laughter] and i basically stopped. in 2011 i wrote another book and was here for that with my colleague, and i started intuiting when i wrote that book that i had missed something. i had missed something. because i suddenly realized that when i was running around the world in 2005 telling people the world is flat, facebook didn't exist. twitter was still a sound. the cloud was still in the sky. 4g was a parking place. [laughter] linkedin, for most people, was a prison. application is what you sent to college.
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big data was rap star, and skype was a typographical error. [laughter] all of that had happened between just 2005 and 2011. of course, only when i wrote this book did i understand it all really came together in 2007. and what produced that? another price collapse. only this time it wasn't the collapse of connectivity, the it was the collapse in the price of complexity. we made computing and storage so cheap that we could make complexity fast, free, easy for you and invisible. think of what it was to catch a taxi five years ago and what it is today, what you can now do with one touch. you can page a cab, direct a cab, pay the cab and rate the cab. massive amounts of complexity
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have now been abstracted away, and it's happening everywhere. it is like a phase change from solid to liquid. it's putting grease and leverage in everything. so when you make connectivity free, fast, free, easy for you and ubiquitous, and you make complexity fast, free, easy for you and invisible, you get an incredible release of energy that changes four kinds of power, and that's what we're now living with. it changes the power of one. what one person can do today as a maker or a breaker is phenomenal. we have a president-elect who can sit in his penthouse now, and on his iphone tweet to 20 million people and to them, almost the entire globe. unmediated.
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it's changed the power of machines. machines can now think. in february 2011 the world changed. of all places, on a game show. it was called jeopardy. they had the two all-time champions, jennings and rudder. and the third contestant just went by his last name, watson. mr. watson passed on the first question. but he buzzed in before the two humans on the second question. and the question was, it's used by a dealer in a casino and worn on the foot of a horse. and in under 2.5 seconds, watson said in his unique voice, what is shoe. oh, the world has not been the same since. a cognitive computer figured out a pun. not what year was america born.
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figured out a pun faster than two human beings. it changed the power of machines. it's changed the power of flows. ideas now flow and change at a speed we've never seen before. five years ago barack obama smairnlgd was between a man and a woman -- marriage was between a man and a woman. today barack obama stays marriage, blessedly, is between any two beings who love each other, and he is following ireland in that. think of how quickly ideas flow and melt away. and lastly, it's changed the power of many. we, as a collective, are now a force of nature. in fact, the newest geological era is being named for us, the an drop city. so these four kinds of power, they aren't just changing the world, they are fundamentally reshaping the world. and they're reshaping five realms. the first part of my book is about these accelerations, and the second part is about the
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five realms that are being reshaped and how i think we need to reimagine them. the workplace is being reshaped, politics is reshaped, geopolitics being reshaped, ethics and community. let me go through a couple of those just to give you a flavor for what i'm talking about. so my chapter on how the workplace is being reshaped is how we call turning a.i. into i.a.. how we turn artificial intelligence into intelligent assistance, a-n-c-e and intelligence algorithms. so people can learn fast and govern smarter to live in an age when there is this change in the pace of change. one of the haroldest things for the human mind to grasp is the power of an exponential. and that's what we're in the middle of. my friends wrote a wonderful book called "the second machine
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age." like to tell the story of the man who invented chess, very well known story. the king said how can i reward you, good sir, and the man said i just want to feed my family. well, what would you like, the king said. he said i'd just like you to put two on the first square, four on the next, eight on the next, just keep doubling it, my family will be fine. the king said, no problem, it shall be done. not realizing when you double something 63 times the number you get is, like, 18 quinn until. and as andy and eric point out, we just intrpped the second half -- entered the second half of the chessboard where the doubling starts to get really big, and you start to see really funk key stuff. funky stuff. you start to see cars that can drive themselves, machines that not only can win at jeopardy, but watson has now basically ingested every article written on cancer.
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you start to see really funky stuff. the power of an exponential is so hard to demonstrate that intel decided just to give its users some feel for this, its engineers on the back of an envelope basically said what if a 1971 vw beetle improved at the same exponential rate as microchips. and they calculated today that vw beetle would go 30,000 miles an hour -- 300,000 miles an hour, it would get two million miles per gallon, and it would cost four cents. [laughter] that's the kind of exponential we are in. and, therefore, we're all feeling it, the change in the pace of change in our workplace. i always like to say when i got out of college, i got to find a job. when my girls got out of college, they had to invent a job. and i think this is increasingly
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going to be true. so my chapter on the workplace is how we turn artificial intelligence into this kind of intelligent assistance assistants and algorithms. the example i give are, first of all, the h.r. policies of at&t. big company, 360,000 employees living on the edge of the supernova, competing every day with verizon, deutsche come, t-mobile. very interesting to understand what their h.r. policies are like. so i spent a lot of time with their h.r. team. quite simply,s this is what at&t does. randall stephenson, their see to owe, gips the year with a radically transparent speech about what their competitive environment is like and what skills you're going to need as an at&t employee this year. then they put every employee on their in-house linkedin system, then they look brad graham, brad graham. brad, we have ten skills we think you need to thrive this
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year at at&t, and you've got seven of them. but you're missing three. then they partnered with sebastian -- [inaudible] through audacity, the online learning platform, and he created nanodegrees for all ten. then they said we will give you up to $8,000 or $8,500 to take all these courses on one condition, you have to take them on your own time. if you take these courses, our deal with brad is that when the new jobs open up, brad will get the first crack at them. we won't go outside. their new social bargain with their employees is very simple. if you want to be a lifelong employee at at&t, you have to be a lifelong learner. if you are a lifelong lehner, you can be a lifelong employee. if brad says, you know what? i'm tired, don't want to take these courses, they have a wonderful receive answer package -- severance package for brad now, but brad will not be working at at&t anymore.
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that social contract is coming to a neighborhood near you. intelligent assistant, what's the example of that? the example i give is qualcomm did a lot of work with them, again, one of the most important companies you never heard of. they made all the software for your iphone. so qualcomm has a campus of 64 buildings in san diego. and a couple years ago they basically retrofitted a bunch of these buildings with sensors on every pipe, every electric socket, every computer, every door, every window, every hvac system. they just have sensors on everything. they beam all that data up to the cloud, and then they beam it down onto an ipad for their janitors. their janitors now walk around with an ipad. you leave your computer on, they know it. that lightbulb goes out, they know it. you leave a door or window open, they know it. the manuals are all there.
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they've given their janitors an intelligent assistant toen able them to live above the line. their janitors now give tours to foreign visitors. now, think what that does for the dignity of that person. because they've now got an intelligent assistant enabling them to operate at this higher level. intelligent algorithm? that's the, my example is the partnership between the college board and khan academy. so i see this crowd, looks like roughly my age and my demographic. we all have kids in college, we know when they were in high school they had to take the psat exam and the sat exam, and i know what you did. you hired a tutor to get your kids p is sat and sat scores up, and you had to pay some college kid $200 like for two hours in order to lift your kid above the line. a wonderful thing for your kids,
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for you and me. completely rigged game. if you come from a family that can't afford that, you're behind the 8 ball from day one. so what happened is the college board who administers the psat partnered with qualcomm from khan academy, and they created free psat and sat prep online. now brad takes his psat exam in 11th grade, and he gets the results back from khan academy and says, brad, you really did well. but you have a problem with fractions and right angles. then it takes brad to a web site, khan academy, devoted just to fractions and right angles. just for him. today houred to exactly his -- tailored to exactly his weakness. if he does well, comes back and say, brad, have you thought of taking ap math in your senior year? and then they've got another
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link that will take him to college scholarships. it's an intelligent algorithm. last year two million american kids got free sat prep through this intelligent algorithm. so what you actually find and you would never have known it from this campaign was the biggest idea of bernie sanders was to take down the banks, that people are actually doing amazing stuff to try to help people live at this higher pace of change. but it's a real, it's a real challenge. i'll talk briefly about my chapter on how we need to reimagine politics. so i believe we aren't just in the middle of one climate change. we are in the middle of a change in the climate. we're also in the middle of a change in the climate of technology and a change in the middle of the climate of globalization. the reason people feel so unmoored today is we're going
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through three climate changes at once. what do you want when the climate changes? you want two things. you want resilience. you need to be able to take a blow because things can get really disruptive, and you want propulsion. you want to be able to move ahead. you don't want to be curled up in a ball. so i thought to myself, who do i talk about about how we produce resilience and propulsion when the climate changes? who would know? and then i realized i knew a woman, she was 3.8 billion years old, her name was mother nature, and she'd been through more climate changes than anybody. so i sat her down, and i interviewed mother nature. i said, mother nature, how do you produce resilience and propulsion when the climate changes? she said, well, tom, first of all, i'm -- i do all of this unconsciously. but i'm, first of all, incredibly adaptive, in a brutal way through natural selection, but i'm incredibly adaptive. only the adaptive survive in my world. second, she said, i love diversity. i love pluralism.
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try 20 different species, see who wins. my most pluralistic ecosystems are the most resilient. third, she says i do believe in sustainability and the circular sustainability. everything is food for me. eat, food, poop, seed. i'm very sustainable. fourth, she said i'm incredibly entrepreneurial. wherever i see an opening in nature that's empty, i fill it with a plan or animal %ly adapted to -- perfectly adapt today that niche. fifth, she said, i'm very patient. you can't build anything resilient without time. you can't speed the growth of a 1,000-year-old tree or the gestation of an elephant. sixth, she said, i believe in ownership. you know, when ecosystem is in balance, it really owns that space, it's highly resilient to invasive species. parentheses, the republican party lost ownership of their ecosystem, and donald trump was an invasive species. that came in. [laughter]
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that's exactly what happened, by the way. lastly, she says -- or eighth, whatever it is, she said i believe in hybrid solutions. i mix things. i put the right bees with the right flowers, the right trees with the right soils. i'm very hybrid. there's nothing dogmatic about me. lastly, she said, i do believe in the laws of bankruptcy. i kill all my failures, return them to the great manufacturer in the sky, and i take their energy to nourish my successes. what i did in that chant kerr i basically -- chapter i basically argue is that the political systems that most consciously mirror mother nature's killer apps will be the most resilient in the anal of acceleration. and then -- in the age of acceleration. and then i just for fun took it one step further and said what if mother nature were running in this election. if she had a party, what would her platform be?
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and i invented mother nation's political party. and just to give you a sample of it because it reflects, obviously, my own politics because on some issues i'm actually to the left of to bernie sanders. i think we should have a single-payer health care system. if sweden and singapore can do it, i cannot understand why we cannot do it. at the same time, i'm to the right of the wall street editorial page. i would abolish all corporate taxes and replace them with a carbon tax, a tax on bullets, a tax on sugar and a small financial transaction tax. i think we need to get radically entrepreneurial over here in order to pay for the safety nets we're going to need over here, because the world is going to get too damn fast for some people. but to me, the two go to together. unfortunately in our politics, if you're for radical entrepreneurism, you can't be for safety nets. that has got to go.
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that is not sustainable, which is why i believe all our political parties are blowing up. that is what is happening. whether it's in the u.k. or europe or here, the reason they're blowing up is that they were designed as responses to the industrial revolution, the new deal, the early i.t. revolution and civil rights. sorry. and civil rights. and what you have to respond to as a political party today are the three accelerations, how you get the most out of them and cushion the worst. let me close by talking about in some ways my favorite chapter in the book. it's called "is god in cyberspace." and the title of the chapter comes from the best question i ever got on book tour. portland, oregon, 1999. i'm selling lexus and the olive tree, and a man stands up in the balcony and says, mr. friedman, i have a question: is god in cyberspace?
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and i thought, god -- [laughter] i said, i don't know. i've never been asked that question before. i feel like a complete idiot. so i got home and i called my rabbi -- [laughter] and one of my real spiritual teachers at the time and since, he's a great talmudic scholar. i met him at the hartman institute in jerusalem, and he's married to a dutch priest who lives in amsterdam. he's a very interesting guy. and i called him in amsterdam and said i've gotten a question i never got before; is god in cyberspace? and he said to me, well, tom, you know, in our faith tradition we have two concepts of the almighty. one is biblical, one's post-biblical. the biblical view of the almighty is he's almighty.
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he smites evil, and he rewards good. and if that's his view of god, he sure isn't in cyberspace which is full of pornography be, gamble, cheating, lying and crazy conspiracy theories and bad talk. but he said fortunately we have a post-biblical view of god, and that view of god is that god manifests himself by how we behave. so if you want with god to be in cyberspace, we have to bring him there by how we behave there. so i took the interview and i put it into the paper barak edition of -- paperback edition, and i completely forgot about it. as i started writing this book, i found myself retelling that story. and i finally sat myself down and said why are you retelling that story? and it's obvious, and it became starkly obvious in this election.
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everything has moved to cyberspace. how we do commerce, how we educate, how we build friendships, how we find spouses, how we learn. everything's moved to a realm where we're all connected but no one's in charge. what does that mean? it means you get fake news. it means the word of the year is, the phrase of the year is post-truth. it means you can go into a realm now and say anything about anybody. so much of our lives are moving into a realm where we're all connected, and no one's in charge. therefore, values, what each one of us believes matters more than ever.
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especially when now you can be a super-empowered maker and a super-empowered breaker. when the world's good for makers, it's good for breakers. so for those two reasons, values, the golden rule matters now more than ever. what everyone single person believes now matters. so i gave this talk just about that chapter as a commencement address at a college of engineering last spring. and i said to the parents, i know what you're thinking. you paid $200,000 so your kid could get an engineering degree, and there's a knucklehead up there preaching the golden rule. is there anything more naive? oh, there is one thing more naive.
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and that's thinking we're going to be okay if we don't scale the golden rule. naivete is the new realism. you see, friends, we stand at an intersection that the human species, i would argue, has never stood at before. a moral intersection. in 1945 we entered a world where one country could kill all of us, post her seem ma. it had -- post-hiroshima. if it had to be one country, i'm glad it was ours. i think we're entering a world where one person can kill all of us. and at the same time, all of us could fix everything with the same amplified powers. we have actually never stood at this place before where one of us could kill all of us, and all of us could actually fix everything. all of us could feed, house and clothe and educate every person on the planet with these same powers.
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what does that mean? it means we've never been more god-like as a species. we have never been more god-like as a species. we have never stood at this intersection before. and, therefore, what values we have and whether we can bring those values to this realm called cyberspace now matters more than ever. where do values come from? they come from places like this. whatever your faith is. values basically come from strong families and healthy communities. and that's why the bookends with two chapters. i don't know, i'm not an expert on strong families. i like to think i've lived and built one, but i'm not an expert on that. i am an expert on healthy communities because i grew up in one. i grew up in an amazing little town outside minneapolis could st. louis park. i went to the same high school,
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grew up in the same neighborhood with the cohn brothers, al franken, norm ornstein, peggy ornstein,al ann wiseman be -- alan wiseman, we all grew up in the same neighborhood at roughly the same decade and a half. this wasn't a neighborhood in the upper west side. this was a one high school suburb in minneapolis. and i basically tell its story. the short story is in minneapolis in the '40s, early '50s, the jews all lived, basically, in a ghetto on the north side with african-americans. and the jews were able to get out in the mid '50s to one suburb, the one that didn't have red lining. so basically in a three-year period, all the jews of minneapolis moved to one suburb called st. louis park. a suburb that had been 100% protestant, catholic, white, scandinavian overnight became 20% jewish.
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if finland and israel had baby, it would be st. louis park. [laughter] and it produced this freaky explosion of energy, the coen brothers' movie was about our hebrew school. if you watch no country for old men, you'll notice a scene where the camera pans up, the pharmacy's called -- [inaudible] that was our local drugstore. i mean, and they tell the story of how we got to know each other and built an inclusive community of trust. my friend dove also says trust is the only legal performance enhancing drug. oh, where there's trust in the room in a community, you've got people applying the golden rule. i tell the whole story of how we did it. it wasn't easy, but we did it with amazing community leaders. then i come back 40 years later
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to my same high school which is now 50% white protestant-catholic-scandinavia, 10% jewish and 30% somali. same suburb that took the jew in the '50s took the somalis in the '90s. now the inclusion challenge is so much more challenging. but ain't that the story of america? and ain't that the story of the world? i left st. louis park 50 years ago to discover the world, and i came back and found the world had discovered st. louis park. so i conclude the book and i'll conclude my talk tonight with the book's theme song, it has a theme song. i thought of buying it so when you opened the book, it would play this song like a hallmark card plays happy birthday.
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and the song is by a wonderful singer who i really like, brandy carlisle. great country folk singer, and her song is called eye. and the main refrain is i wrapped your love around me like a chain, but i never was afraid that it would die. you can dance in a hurricane, but only if you're standing in the eye. and i believe right now, folks, these accelerations, they're like the winds of a hurricane. we just elected a man who thinks you can manage them by building a wall. i don't think so. i think you have to build an eye. the eye that moves with the storm, draws energy from it but creates a platform of dynamic stability within it. that eye for me is the healthy community. and the struggle in this country and globally, i believe going forward, is going to be between wall people and the eye people,
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and i'm rooting for the eye people. thank you very much. [applause] thank you. thank you. [applause] thank you. thank you. [applause] we have time for some questions, and we'll take about ten minutes. go ahead. please. >> mr. friedman, i'm a college student here in the washington, d.c. area and have read with great interest several of your books. my question is what are, what do you think are some of the most meaningful and important things that you have learned throughout your career about the ability that one has to communicate and educate in the context of writing? >> wow, that's a really good question. next question back there, please.
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[laughter] no, that's a wonderful question. i'll tell you the, what i've learned most, that to me the most important lesson, two most important lessons if you want to be a journalist, for me. people come to me and say i want to be a journalist, i say, well, what do i need to know? it's really good if you can fast. i went to secretarial school in london, in fact, to type fast. but if you know some history, literature, certainly good grammar and english. but there's actually one thing that you have to have to be a good journalist, i believe. you have to like people. you have to enjoy hearing the crazy things they say and do. and people can tell. and if you like people, they will open up to you, and they'll really share, you know, what's on their mind. it's amazing to me how many journalists hate people. [laughter]
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and, you know, one of the many criticisms of me out there is that i just talk to cab drivers,ing okay? i've actually never interviewed a cab driver for any of my books, but never mind. if a few more pollsters had interviewed cab drivers in this last election, they might not have been so surprised because, guess what? talking to another human being is a form of data. and a lot of people forget that, especially today in the age of big data. the other thing though i think you really need to be a good journalist is you have to be a good listener. for two reasons. one is what you hear. but the other reason's much more important. it's because listening is a sign of respect. and it's amazing what people will let you say to them if they feel you respect them. it's amazing what you can say to people if they feel you're listening. not just waiting for them to stop talking, but deep listening. and it's amazing to me how many
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journalists don't understand that. because if people think you don't respect them -- and, again, we saw that in this election, it's, you can't tell them it's dark outside. and if they think you do respect them, they'll listen to you all day. my answer. thank you. [applause] yeah, please. >> so much of what you said today resonates with me personally. i operate a solo consultancy by myself, and it's called linkages. and i manage global trade, biotechnology and food around the world sitting at my desk, singapore in the evening, london in the morning. i am the epitome of what you called diverse, adaptive, inclusive, entrepreneurial and resilient in the people i talk to -- >> i'm the same. >> -- and listen to in my ear every day. and yet this election showed me that the biggest lack of listening or lack of linkages is with my hometown in detroit
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where so many of the people are older, they don't want the diversity, they don't want to adapt anymore. they were told one job for life. >> yeah. >> they don't want to learn anymore. so there's tremendous dislocation in my heart and in my life. how do we bridge this divide? >> that's a really powerful question, and thank you for that. thank you for sharing all of that. and it's, first of all, let me say that i was humbled in writing this book. i worked on it longer than any book i ever did, i worked on it for three years. and the first thing i've experienced on this book i never had before, i felt like i had a butterfly net and i was chasing a butterfly, and every time i got close, it moved. so i had to interview the head of intel three times. and each time just to make sure moore's law was -- learned something new. and often things changed in between. like, when this thing was going
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to the press, i was sending them, you know, paragraphs, is this still correct? and so i know how fast it's getting. and when i say i'm humbled is that i don't have the answer. you know? i really don't. but here's what everything i've learned has taught me. number one, we've been here before. you know, the most dangerous time to be on the streets of new york city was when automobiles were first being introduced but horses and buggies hadn't been phased out. you could get hit from any direction, okay? and we're at one of those moments. if horses could have voted, there never would have been cars, okay? [laughter] so you always have to remember at these moments and, unfortunately, those people are hurt by change know exactly who they are. and they protest. people who are benefited from it are too busy garnering the benefits.
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and you see that asymmetry in our politics. but when it comes to that average worker, i don't have a simple answer. i wish i did. i looked for it, but i don't have a simple answer when the pace of change is this fast. i was in central iowa last week giving a talk, and he said, mr. friedman, i know all these voters out here in central iowa, they all want it to be 1965 again. the most important line on the cap of trump is the word "again." and believe me, i understand that. i mean, i live in this world, i thrive on it, and i have nothing but sympathy for it. so i don't have the simple answer for each person. i do have a macro answer though, and my macro answer is not one that any trump voter will want to hear. that is, when you've got a really fast-changing moment, actually you want to be as open as possible, because you'll get
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the signals first. you'll attract the most high-risk entrepreneur, right? and at the same time, you want to be educating everybody as much as you can. be open and educate everybody as much as you can, and then let the miracle of america happen, you know? i was at a conference in september charlie rose did, and there was a woman there, pretty sure this is what she said, that her job was tagging sharks for twitter. i thought, who knew there was a job and are tagging sharks for twitter, you know what i mean? your kid goes off to college, mom, dad, i want to tag sharks for twitter. you couldn't be an opt momtion? [laughter] your job, i bet five years ago it didn't exist, you know? but if you let it happen, and that's what scares me about trump. i understand the angst that produced him, and i respect it. the penultimate column i wrote before this election was addressed to his voters. i said he is an indecent man,
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but i know where you're coming from. and he's not going to get you there. because ford is not coming back to this country with a 25,000-person factory outside of deerborn. it's that factory with 500 robots. you know, the modern factually just has two employees -- factory has just two employees, a man and a dog. the man is there to feed the dog, and the dog is there to keep man away from the machines. [laughter] that's where it's going. let me share the most important thing i learned in doing this book, and it was surprising for me. and if you'll indulge me, i'll have to read a little bit. i just want to share this with you because you know what i learned in doing this book? the thing that stood out everywhere is that the things that mattered most to people were the human-to-human connections. you know, gallup did a giant
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study, gallup does a lot of education polling five years ago, and they studied people who had been out of college four or five years, and they asked them are you happy with the direction of your career. and they called out that group who said yes, and then they drilled down to see what they had in common, and gallup determined they had two things in common. they had had an internship somewhere along the way, and they had had a mentor who took an interest in their hopes and dreams. there's such a message in that bottle. i profile in this book a web site called learn up. most big retail companies today, their or hr policies are to weed people out. stay away, you know? apply for old navy or walmart. they get millions of them, over year, applications. they're overwhelmed. so learn up came along, interface between them and the job applicants. you now have to take a two hour test, do you think how to fold a shirt, operate a cash register,
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deal with a customer, if you pass that test, that weeds out already thousands of people. they make your job appointment for you. but if you go to their web site, you'll notice in the upper right corner is a button, it's got a little smiley face on it. it's called the coach button. gets pressed more than any button on their web site. and i listed all the questions the coach gets. coach, what do i wear to my job interview? coach, what if i'm going to be late? coach, what might the first question be? everywhere i turned it was the human-to-human stuff that stood out. let me just read you -- this is from the last pages of my book. that's why when i asked the surgeon general what was the biggest disease in america today, without hesitation he answers it's not cancer, it's not heart disease, it's isolation. it is the pronounced isolation that so many people are
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experiencing that is the great pathology of our lives today. how ironic. we're the most technologically connected generation in human history, and yet more people feel more isolated than ever. this only reinforces the point that the connections that matter most are the most short supply today, the human-to-time ones. don't get me wrong, technology has so much to offer us. i'm awed by the intelligent assistance i discovered in researching this book and the potential it has to lift so many people out of poverty and discover talent and make it possible for us to fix everything. we will get the best out of these technologies only be we don't let them distract us from making these deep human connections, addressing these deep human longings and inspiring these deep human energies. and whether we do that depends
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on all that stuff you can't download. the high-five of from a coach, the praise from a mentor, the hug from a friend, the hand up from a neighbor, the handshake from a rival, the totally unsolicited gesture of kindness from the stranger, the smell of a garden -- not the cold stare of a wall. can you imagine how many jobs there are going to be in human-to-human connection? over thanksgiving, and i'll stop here because it's such an important question, at our thanksgiving table we had a friend of ours who's a food consultant. he was hired by a company called paint it, and they have bars where adults come in and other people, and they paint by numbers in the bar and -- >> [inaudible] >> even better. okay. who ever thought there'd be an industry in teaching people to paint in bars? [laughter] but maybe people so crave these connections, so somebody's going
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to own that bar, somebody's going to teach painting. those are good jobs. if somebody's going to give a massage to the paint teacher at the end of the day, you know? so let it happen. but if you put up a wall against this, we will all suffer. thanks for your question. [applause] >> [inaudible] >> yeah. i'll do two more. as many as i can. >> in addition to you reading your new book, what do you recommend as the action plan for individual citizens if our next administration enacts anti-diversity, anti-climate change policies? >> that's a good question. i can tell you what i'm going to do as a columnist, you know? i'm going to go all out. you know, i kind of spend 15 months trying to prevent trump from winning. right now i'm in a phase where i'm focused on one thing, climate change, because there's a lot of things he will do that
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are reversible, there's one thing he could do that would be irreversible, and that is turn america away from global leadership on climate. so right now i'm doing everything i can to sort of, you know, push that direction one way or another. [applause] but if he goes against that, for me, it's all out war. this is a really pivotal moment. and everyone will have to find, i get to have a column in "the new york times," so i can use that, but everyone will have to find their way to resist this. we will not, we should not, and i don't think people will. they won't take this standing -- they won't take this sitting down. >> [inaudible] >> oh, sorry. i'm hearing voices. >> [inaudible] >> right. so -- to connect. >> [inaudible]
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>> to resist. right. well, you know, i think you really have to do what the other styed did very -- side did very well. they won statehouses all over the country, they gerrymandered districts, and they got control of the congress, and new that they've been able to really dominate the legislative process. and unless -- i'm not even saying democrats. i think all the people who feel differently about that don't get organized. you know, i'm actually not a big facebook user. and i'm not a big twitter user because i find they are faux forms of activism. you talk to people who say, well, i tweeted about it. really, you tweeted about it. [laughter] that's like firing a mortar into the milky way galaxy, okay? [laughter] i have news for you, exxonmobil, they're not on facebook. they are in your face. they are in the cloakroom, not the chatroom.
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and they're in the cloakroom with bags of money. and so get out of facebook into somebody's face. and all of this, all this online stuff has soaked up so much activism that it's really given a pass, you know, to a lot of people. quickly, yeah. >> so in the spring of 2013 you came and spoke to eric taker's seminar, and i was one of those students. one of the last things that you said was you gave a forecast for the middle east coming, and you basically said it was going to be in chaos for 50 years. little did we know that summer that the egyptian army would throw a co to up and that morsi would be out and syria would be progressively getting worse -- >> i got one thing right! [laughter] >> but i'm, i was going to ask kind of how has that changed considering in light of the election, but also how has that changed -- is the world entering 50 years, not just the middle
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east and the unstable parts of the world, but is the world as a whole, even the developed part, entering, you know, some 50 years of chaos? >> so i have to confess, i can ruin any dinner party, okay? [laughter] and i do weddings and bar mitzvahs as well. [laughter] so i don't want to ruin this one, but i have a chapter on that in the book. and it's built around the television show "get smart." you're a little too young to know, but it was a famous spoof on james bond in the '60s, and don adams was agent 86 and agent 99. and he worked for an organization called control. and their worldwide enemy was called chaos. spelled k-a-o-s. and what the chapter is about is that the world today is actually the relevant are divide in the world is no longer east/west, north/south, communist/capitalist, it's between the world of order and
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the world of disorder. and the mediterranean and the rio grande are increasingly a dividing line. why is that? because basically the 50 years after world war ii were a wonderful time to be an average little state. because you had two superpowers throwing money at you, educating your kids at a university in moscow or in america. they gave you foreign aid. if you were syria, you could lose three wars to israel, they'd rebuild your army. climate change was moderate. china was not in the bucks to, and populations -- wto, and populations were moderate. in the age of acceleration, all of that is gone. now climate change is hammering these countries. they have demographic deficits, a lot of them. the climate, in fact, is hammering them so much that males are all leaving. i just did a documentary on this
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for national geographic from niger and senegal. globalization is leaving them behind, and china's now in the world trade organization. so i tell the story, in fact, of egypt. i was in egypt for tahrir square revolution. gone from my wife for three weeks. i'm leaving egypt, i go to cairo airport. i met the treasurer of -- i'm at the souvenir store in cairo, buy my honey a little something to remind her where her honey was for a few weeks. what do they have here? pumpkin ashtrays. she doesn't smoke. hey, they have a stuffed camel, and if you squeeze its hump, it hanks. my honey doesn't have one of those -- [laughter] i take it to the cash register, i turn it over, what does it say at the bottom? say it with me now, made in china.
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you're the lowest wage country in the eastern mediterranean, there's now a country half a continent away that can make it cheaper than you can, ship it and take the profits back home. so what's happening? all of these average states, they're actually cracking up. and we're just at the beginning. because they can't handle these accelerations. they're like caravan homes in a trailer park, a lot of them. they're built on slabs of cement with no basement and no foundation. my accelerations are like a tornado going through a trailer park. it's start anything west africa and going to india, and the states that collapse first are those whose borders are primarily state lines because they're the most artificial. and it's creating this new divide between order and disorder. and that's what i say in the book. mama, tell your daughters not to grow up to be secretaries of state. [laughter] it's the worst job in the world. okay? [laughter] if trump comes to you and says
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he'd like you to be secretary of state -- [laughter] tell him you had your heart set on agriculture, okay? [laughter] [applause] because woe be unto whoever gets this job, okay? to me, it's like russian roulette. all right? because managing weakness, managing state collapse, they all think it was because obama was a wimp. oh, they're now going to discover that managing weakness is hell on wheels. i better stop here. so we're going to sign books after. thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations]

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